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Doelz Sues AT&T After Losing Bank of America Pact

September 29, 1987|DAVID OLMOS | Times Staff Writer

Doelz Networks, an Irvine-based technology company, has filed a $25-million lawsuit accusing American Telephone & Telegraph of unlawfully wresting away a major contract to supply a data communications network to Bank of America.

Doelz, which specializes in making data communications equipment for financial institutions, alleged in its suit that AT&T induced a breach of contract, engaged in unfair competition, misappropriated trade secrets and engaged in other unlawful activity to win the Bank of America contract.

The lawsuit was filed Friday in Orange County Superior Court.

Shauna Lindsay, an AT&T spokeswoman in Santa Ana, said Monday that there is "no merit" to the Doelz suit. A spokesman for San Francisco-based Bank of America said the company had no immediate comment.

According to the suit, Bank of America told Doelz officials by letter Aug. 18, 1986, that the bank was "pleased" to "accept" Doelz's bid to supply data communications equipment for the bank's 1,051 branches in California. The contract, which attracted bids from AT&T, IBM and other suppliers, had a value of about $20 million, the suit said.

The suit alleged that AT&T later proposed to the bank that it replace Doelz with AT&T. In late September, the suit said, the bank informed Doelz that it had decided to award the contract to AT&T.

Frank T. Connors, Doelz co-chairman and chief executive, said his company has already negotiated a settlement with Bank of America involving the contract, but he declined to divulge details.

Connors said the firm tried unsuccessfully for several months to reach an accord with AT&T.

"We couldn't resolve this matter in a businesslike way," Connors said. "We tried very hard to resolve this through negotiations."

Doelz employs about 145 people at its Irvine headquarters.

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